Coca-Cola’s Vitaminwater brand of beverages will now prominently feature the words “with sweeteners” in two places on its label, potentially bringing to a close a six-year lawsuit filed against it by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
If approved, a proposed settlement agreement filed in a US federal court would end a legal battle that began in 2009 as a result of a class action lawsuit brought against Coca-Cola by CSPI and private law firms.
As well as adding the phrase, the brand has been told to drop claims about the drink’s health products, with statements such as “vitamins + water = what’s in your hand”, “vitamins + water = all you need” and “this combination of zinc and fortifying vitamins can… keep you healthy as a horse” being prohibited.
The agreement also prevents Vitaminwater from claiming that the drink is formulated to “support optimal metabolic function with antioxidants that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases”, or that it may reduce the risk of age-related eye disease or promote healthy joints, immune function, feelings of relaxation, or a “healthy state of physical and mental being”.
The phrase “with sweeteners” will be added to labels in two places, reflecting the drink’s sugar content of 32g – about eight teaspoons or roughly 120 calories’ worth.
Coca-Cola has three months to begin making the changes and two years within which to complete them.
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